With the takeover of health care and frenzied government growth front and center, many are wondering when we will – if we haven’t already – reached a tipping point that fundamentally alters America. Much of what’s been done is described as a temporary fix. However, as President Reagan noted, “There is nothing so permanent as a temporary government program.”

With this reinvigorated discussion of how big is too big, it is worthwhile to remind Americans of just how massive the Federal government already was before our current woes began. There are few more striking measures of the government’s size than the land mass of the Federal estate. The vast majority of federal lands fall within one of four agencies: the Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service and US Fish and Wildlife Service and the Department of Agriculture’s US Forest Service. At over 258 million acres, the Bureau of Land Management alone is bigger than France and Germany combined. When combined with the other aforementioned agencies, the land area is equal that of ten European nations as shown in the accompanying graph (click it to see a larger version).